Do you know what probate is? Do you know when it is required? Are you aware that there is an entire volume of California law referred to as the Probate Code? Did you know that after someone dies, you cannot simply walk off with their property?
Probate involves the transfer of property by will (testate) or when there is no will (intestacy) to heirs in a manner supervised by the Superior Court in the county in which a person had their home when they died. Fees are set by statute for the executor and the attorney. In some cases a full-on probate may be avoided by the use of authorized methods (e.g. spousal set-aside, small-estate declaration). Generally, no probate is necessary when a properly funded trust has been established as part of the estate plan. In all events, debts of the deceased and taxes, including federal estate taxes (see trust administration below) must be paid prior to distribution. Probate is a process and requires documents to be filed with the court. Sometimes court appearances are also required as a part of the process.
I am skilled in the various aspects of probate law. I help my clients throughout this process. I encourage you to contact me to discuss any probate issues or other questions that you may have.